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A Primer Description of " Combiners "

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    A Primer Description of " Combiners "

    SO...Where to start ?? " Combiners " .... This is a class of Laser application in the Hand Held area.and the Laser Projector/Lumia area. A "Combiner"... combines more than one Laser Diode to either increase over aggregate Optical Power Output....or deliver a blend of color. This color mixing is a perceived in our brain. It is a result based upon how our eye and brain process light input from the Optic Nerrve.

    In both applications the beams are either arranged in a " Beam-On-Beam " or Coaxial Alignment configuration or a " Side- by -Side " or Knife Edge Alignment configuration.

    Let us consider the first arrangement, the " Beam-On-Beam " application. This method is used to achieve a blend of perceived colour's.
    via Optical combining with either Dichroic Filter/Mirror or a Polarized Beam Splitter ( PBS).

    The beams are aligned in a superimposed geometry....meaning the beam's travel down the exact same path/axis. With either method, exact alignment of the beams is critical. Each beam MUST have the same X/Y location and the correct Pitch and Yaw degree as the beams exit the optic.

    This alignment is challenging but can be accomplished.....and can ONLY be done a single time !!! Once two beams are combined via a Dichroic Filter/Mirror or PBS...It CANNOT be done a second time due Phase cancellation.

    Now, the " Side-By-Side " application. This method is used to combine several independent Laser Beams. The goal is to add the Optical Power of more than one beam / one Laser diode.. The beams are stacked or a side by side geometry. The positioning of the individual beams is again critical. Each beam must have the same Pitch and Yaw as the beam next to it. The beams must be arranged to be as close as possible to one another...BUT NOT in a Coaxial condition.

    If the beams were to be in that condition ( Coaxial)......Phase cancellation will take place and the Electromagnetic fields will cancel out.. Phase cancellation means..the resulting (2 ) Combined beam's....will be 1/2 +1/2 =1....... NOT 1 + 1 = 2 !!!...That is just the way light behaves...." Laws of Optics" !!

    The method of combining Laser Beams is used in many, many Laser applications....such as the Hand Held unit, Laser Projectors. Within the area of Laser Projectors....we have ; Laser ( Vector) Graphic Projection, Lumia Projection and Laser Abstract Projection.

    Laser Graphics Projections are animated drawings, projected via a X/Y Galvo Scanner. Lumia Projections are beam projected thru a moving transparent Optic to achieve a projection of nonlinear and Organic random patterns. Laser Abstract projections are a special sub-class of Vector Graphics with animated Geometric Patterns as the projected laser pattern goal.

    I have experience in all the above areas which combine laser beams to achieve combined colour or greater Optical Power. This post is a first attempt at outlining the topic. Other posts will follow diving deeper into the details.